Court papers filed by reinstated Eskom boss Brian Molefe reveal a confusing tangle of statements with Eskom chairperson Ben Ngubane, saying Molefe had actually taken early retirement instead of stepping down.
In their legal responses to the DA and EFF, who have both filed cases to have Molefe’s return to Eskom overturned, Molefe said he was on unpaid leave and had not resigned from Eskom.
His statement is supported by Ngubane, who said Molefe had taken early retirement, and once Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown had learnt of his R30-million pension payout through The Sunday Times, she made an inquiry that led to the board realising it had made a legal error.
This resulted in his early retirement now being treated as unpaid leave instead, with Molefe set to pay back the salary he had received from Eskom during this time.
According to EWN, Brown said she would not oppose the case, although she was unaware of the agreement tabled by the board to give Molefe a golden handshake.
Mail and Guardian reported Molefe had not addressed his initial statement that he was resigning. He held a press conference last November in which he announced that.
“It was explained to me that Eskom wanted me to return because of a concern about stabilising leadership and to address operational issues that it was facing,” said Molefe about his return.
In a 22-page affidavit, he contends the R30-million payout was incorrect, and he was actually going to receive a once-off settlement of R9.8 million, plus R1.3 million a year for life. He did admit he and Eskom had not read the pension rules, which resulted in the legal error.
Ngubane and Brown will appear before parliament today to account for Molefe’s reinstatement.